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mehak110

Should I accept the offer?

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I have been accepted by University of Illinois at Chicago for MA English (Creative Writing). The department does not have funding for MA students for this particular program. When I told them that I cannot pay, they said I could apply for graduate assistant jobs which could get me a partial fee waiver and stipend. But the problem is that applying for job is chance-based. Its totally possible that I might not get the job. In that case I might be stranded with near to no money. Should I accept the offer?

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If you try applying for the TAship, when will you know whether you've got the job? Do you know roughly what the chance is?

From what I can understand you're an international student who currently don't have a US visa - in order to apply for one, you need to prove you have money to cover your tuition and living expenses for at least 1 year. If you cannot secure a paid TAship by the time of visa application (i.e. the I-20 mailed to you by UIC does NOT indicate that you're receiving funding from the school), and you don't have the money saved in the bank, you won't even be granted a visa.

I guess there are sketchy ways around it, but I would still consider it a real possibility that you won't be allowed into the US in the first place, not to mention being stranded there. In the end it depends on the strength of your financial safety net. If you have family members who can help you (even grudgingly) through this situation, or a property/investment that can be sold in the worst case to fund your education, it's up to you to decide whether it's worth it. If you have none of these last resort options, I would not bank on the TAship.

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Hi,

Do you have relatives or siblings who can help you with showing bank balance or helping you fund studies partially? Are there relatives living in that area who can help you financially? 

Also there are Fullbright scholarships for international students-please check with your local US embassy if your program and country qualify. Also look around for external funding.There are many organizations-look at portals like scholars4dev,scholarportals,studygreen etc-they have a lot of different funds for different purposes. Also can your government provide funding-oftentimes governments of countries provide scholarships to their citizens to study abriad. 

Lastly, do you really want to go to this place or do you want to wait next year to apply again(although no guarantee of funding). If you really want to go to this program, then you can make it happen. It might be hard but if you are persistent, you might be able to manage part-time jobs and fund yourself. I know of someone who went on an unfunded PhD and did not have funds. But that person persisted a lot and looked into many places and found TA and RA work as well as obtained residency(which lowered tuition for them).They could show enough bank balance to get a visa and had to pay for everything the first semester. Life got easier for them afterwards for the reasons mentioned before. 

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